Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back To School!!!

All three of my darlings headed out the door to school today!! Nick was a veritable Tigger of excitement this morning and at 6:55, I told him to just head out the door and up to school! There will never be another “First Day as Principal” of your first school... and it was a doozy. Over 30 kids extra showed up for the first day than had registered ahead of time, so there is some serious number juggling to be done. He’s headed up to bed already, happy but tired.

Mum and John have been down for a visit over the Labour Day weekend and drove the rest of us to Queen Elizabeth school this morning to get the girls settled. There is just SO much stuff to bring in the first day that very few kids actually take the bus. Bethany met her new teacher, one that Erin never had, and was thrilled to find a bigger desk just for her. She announced this afternoon that her Madame is the most wonderful teacher she’s had, so I think some of the anxiety from last night has been put to rest.

Erin was thrilled to discover that she was seated next to her best friend in the classroom, along with having one of her favourite teachers ever as her homeroom teacher this year. Best of all, she has a double Art period on Wednesday mornings, so she thinks that her schedule ROCKS! She got to show off her new hairstyle and clothes today with great reviews. Apparently a Grade 8 student stopped her in the hall and asked her where she got the totally cool outfit! Heady stuff to a Grade 6 student. Of course in typical Erin tomboy fashion, she also spent the lunch hour testing out the cool new piece of playground equipment with the gang of boys she plays football or running games with.

Tonight, I loaded all of the files, fonts and images onto a CD and printed out the paper proofs. I am off to the printer’s in the morning to turn in the files and get this book printed! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday morning, once they are all out the door or on the bus, I think I shall skip merrily down the street and see if I can’t tidy my office and put away all the pencils, pens and markers that have spent the summer cluttering up the floor of our dining room!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Endings, Beginnings, New Crayons and New Chances...

Other than loading everything onto a CD and getting it to the printer’s on Wednesday morning, the book is done! It’s a bit hard to believe that less than 4 months ago, I met the author for the first time at an enrichment day and then showed her some of my artwork a few days later. I still plan to check the final colour balance on the digital images of my drawings on their computers Wednesday morning to avoid any surprises when we get the colour proofs. Some of the images look VERY different from one computer to another here in my office, so it saves time and money if I look them over on their colour calibrated computers... but I am almost giddy at getting the hardest part of this project done.

Endings are rather bittersweet. There is the sense of accomplishment and pride in completing something, and yet a certain sadness that the challenge of that project is done. There is the excitement of looking forward to the next project and yet the freelance pitfall of wondering what it will be. Of course I already have 2 other graphics projects to work on in the next 2 weeks, a web site to update and Toronto to get ready for, so it’s not exactly as if I will be sitting around twiddling my thumbs!

Beginnings are exciting too! Erin and Bethany both spent the day getting everything ready for tomorrow’s first day of school. Erin took a lot of time to pick her outfit and Bethany took all of 30 seconds... but that is the difference between Grade 2 and Grade 6! We labeled all the school supplies, packed backpacks, made lunches etc.

There’s something so wonderful about looking at all the new school supplies. I love the empty notebooks waiting to be filled, the crayons and coloured pencils with their sharp, perfect points. Going back to school held all the potential for a brand new year of learning things, making new friends, getting a new teacher. It is still one of my favourite times of the year and it continues to teach me something even though I no longer step inside a classroom or change grade levels. Fall teaches me to let go of some things and shed them the way the trees shed their leaves in a riotous splendour. Fall reminds me that no matter how old you are, there are always new chances, new pages in our lives and new beginnings. Fall affirms that life cannot always be about the heat of the summer or the frantic energy of spring. There must also be a harvest and a time to slow down or sleep a bit and re-gather our resources until the next adventure.

I will be watching my daughters find their classrooms tomorrow morning before my own meetings. They will look to see where the tallest desk in the classroom is to know where they are sitting, just as I did not that very long ago. I can still remember the wonder, the excitement, the possibilities....

Now I just have to go upstairs and try to get my principal husband to settle down and get some sleep as well!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Creating Beaches Instead of Fuzzy Alien Monkey Babies...

I’ve been staring at the computer screen for the past 6 hours touching up digital photos of the artwork for the final versions. Removing a wrinkle in the paper here, lightening a background there and even creating a beach in one ocean scene for the author instead of redrawing the whole full-bleed layout by hand. I can copy grass, create new waves, expand a bush... so I know how to alter stuff pixel by pixel. Perhaps that’s why some of the tabloid headlines and photos don’t grab me anymore. I could probably create Fuzzy Alien Monkey Babies that looked a lot more believable. Mine would certainly be cuter!!

So tomorrow morning I will replace all the dingy rough photos with these touched up scans and then get everything ready to go to the printer on Wednesday morning. The colour proofs will be the most telling, but so far, despite the many hours to ensure the proper colour, detail etc. I am pleased to get the digital artwork so that it does the drawings justice. I didn’t spend all summer creating those images to have them go muddy when scanned or look icky because of how they were photographed.

This is where being a type A personality comes in handy. When I wasn’t happy with the results of the photo shoot because the stuff shot under the studio lights looked too yellow, I double checked by going to the printer’s and looking at the images on a calibrated screen... then went outside the next morning and shot all of the pictures again in full sunshine. There really isn’t anything like Mother Nature’s full spectrum light to bring out colours properly.

I did take a break this afternoon to go for a long walk on the trails at the Irishtown Nature Park about 15 minutes from the house by car. We all went and Mum & John were amazed at how many different kind of birds we saw. I am sure they will bring their binoculars next time!! Bethany complained a bit that her legs were going to fall off, but forced exercise is sometimes necessary!

Well, it is off to bed with one last chance to sleep in just a tiny bit before the routine of the 6:15 am alarm starts again for another school year. Updating the website for September will just have to wait a bit longer!!

Happy Labour Day Weekend everyone!!